Remember your first computer? What about that television set that took the whole family to move? Did you ever think about what happened to all of those electronics at the end of their life? We're Fireclay Tile, and our founder Paul, constantly thinks about what happens to products at the end of their life cycle. So much so, that he has been on a mission for the last three years to find a use for the glass panels that made those television sets so heavy.
CRT, or Cathode Ray Tube, glass was developed to create a way for projecting images onto a screen. The technology behind CRT glass required that the glass be exceptionally thick and shatter resistant.
CRTs are considered to be one of the hardest types of electronic waste to recycle. CRT glass can be recycled into more CRT glass, but with rapid technological advancements and declining price tags for LCD and plasma displays there is no longer a viable use for CRT glass, which means that there is over 600 million pounds of CRT in California alone.
We work with a local electronics recycler, ECS Refining, who removes the glass panel from the housing, at which point we begin a multi-step crushing process that ultimately produces glass particles small enough to melt when exposed to heat.
After the glass is sorted we add some white color to lighten the natural CRT glass, achieving a lighter gray color that we have suitably named Phosphor.
CRT Glass Tile will be offered in 2 sizes 2x8 and 1" round mosaics. Every tile we make requires its own unique mold which is where Kickstarter comes in.
We need $10,000 to purchase high quality molds that will guarantee consistency in our finished product. Each mold costs roughly $20 and an average size project will use around 360 molds.
For those of you who believe that we're on to something great and want to be a part of it, we're offering several rewards! For starters, we are giving away sets of our natural gray coasters made from CRT glass. We hope to have these coasters shipped for the holidays! For more of an investment, you will be rewarded with a CRT glass tile backsplash from our glass factory! That's right. We are rewarding our top backers with a specific amount of square footage towards a backsplash project of their choice.
We are very excited to launch this one-of-a-kind project on Kickstarter and we hope you are as stoked to be apart of this sustainably made, US product. So how about - let's make something cool together!
A BIG, HUGE thank you to ECS Refining for providing the CRT glass we have used to make our tile:
See a snapshot of how ECS & Fireclay Tile are making a difference, one monitor at a time:
Risks and challenges
Many of the challenges that come with using recycled materials are related to supply. With post consumer waste materials, every batch of raw goods is different. This sometimes effects the way that color renders, or the variation that exists in a finished product. At Fireclay Tile we have been working with post consumer recycled materials for over 12 years at our ceramic factory. We have run into many production obstacles over the years and had to find quick resolutions to maintain the highest quality and on-time delivery. We know where to expect issues in production and how to spot them quickly. This allows us to be nimble and efficient while sticking to our guns about minimizing our use of new resources.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
One of the reasons CRT monitors are treated as e-waste is that the glass contains lead and other toxic materials. What is the cleaning process involved and are these tiles a health concern?
This question has popped up a few times since our launch so we are addressing it here. We have had our glass thoroughly analyzed and completed a tell all test. The test was comprised of putting the glass in a bath of hydrochloric acid and then inspected for lead content; test results came back with no lead in our glass.
The reason there is no lead in our tile is because we are working with ECS recycling (see CRT cleaning process here: http://www.ecsrefining.com/services-and-markets/products-and-services/crt-recycling). They collect the screens and slice off the front 3/4". The lead and other toxic materials are found in the back section of the panel. So, as we are recycling the front of the TV and computer monitors, there is little or no harmful material getting into our CRT glass content.
We submitted all documentation to the State toxicologists (DTSC) and were advised that it is ok to make glass tiles from the front panel of the screen.
Please let us know if you have other concerns and we will try to answer your questions the best of our ability and knowledge. Thank you!
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